Foreign Affairs minister Sophie Wilmès steps aside as minister due to illness of husband

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès is resigning from her government functions with immediate effect following the illness of her husband Christopher. She announced this in an announcement on Today.

Wilmès' husband has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. In order to be able to assist him and her children, the former prime minister is stepping aside as minister.

"This severe ordeal is not without its consequences for my family, and therefore for my role within the Belgian government," says Wilmès. "Being a minister requires discipline, availability and total dedication, which would prevent me from providing the help and love that Christopher and our children need during this difficult time."

"I want to be there for him as he has always been there for us and fight this battle with him and our children," says Wilmès. In consultation with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and her MR party, she has therefore decided to immediately step down from her current ministerial duties, without compensation. "This gives us the opportunity to have an overview of our situation during the summer," Wilmès said.

The number one French-speaking Liberal in the federal government, in addition to being Minister of Foreign Affairs, is also Minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade. She is also responsible for the federal cultural institutions. As long as she is absent, her responsibilities will be taken over by Prime Minister De Croo himself, who becomes temporarily responsible for Foreign Affairs, and her party colleagues David Clarinval and Mathieu Michel, who are now respectively Minister of the Self-Employed, SMEs and Agriculture and Secretary of State for Digitalization.


© BELGA PHOTO (BRUNO FAHY) Foreign Affairs Minister Sophie Wilmes pictured during a plenary session.

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